Hero in lone wolf terror attack charged with burglary

By Agence France-Presse

A homeless man who drew worldwide attention when he tried to stop a lone wolf terror attack in Australia has been arrested and charged for a series of petty crimes committed before his act of heroism.

Michael Rogers appeared in a Melbourne court Saturday on five charges of theft and burglary, just days after an online campaign raised AU$145,000 (US$100,000) on his behalf for trying to stop the November 9 attack.

Rogers, 46, was released on bail after the court heard charges against him that included stealing $500 during a break-in at a Melbourne cafe and taking a bicycle from a local apartment block, national broadcaster ABC reported.

Rogers gained instant fame when video posted on social media showed him using a metal shopping cart to try and stop a stabbing rampage in central Melbourne by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali, who killed one man and wounded two others before being fatally shot by police.

Police said Shire Ali, a 30-year-old Somalia-born Australian, was inspired by the so-called Islamic State, but did not have a direct link to the jihadist group and seems to have acted on his own.

Just days after being dubbed the “trolleyman hero” for trying to stop Shire Ali, Rogers learned from media reports that he was wanted by police for a series of previous offences, and turned himself in to authorities late Friday.

At Saturday’s bail hearing, the Melbourne court heard that Rogers had a long history of problems related to homelessness and drug issues and had only been released in August after spending five months in jail, ABC reported.

Rogers’ long-time public defender, Melinda Walker, told ABC that in the 20 years she had known Rogers it was the first time he had voluntarily handed himself in to police.

“He’s humbled by the support of the community and accepting of the supports that have been put in place for him,” she said.

The GoFundMe page set up for Rogers said the $145,000 raised on his behalf would be managed by a trust to “make sure Michael is well taken care of and guided financially as he moves forward.”

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